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Slumber Mountain: a Short Story Response to Bill Holland's Challenge

Updated on November 26, 2016

Slumber Mountain

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Slumber Mountain

I stood on the unyielding, jutting ledge, tempted to fly.

‘Come join us!’ shouted the eagles riding the thermals.

‘Come follow us!’ beckoned spirits of dragons, dogs and devils in the clouds.

‘Come meet us!’ offered the miniature roofs, spires and pastures below.


Source

Eyes, Eagles & Clouds

The eyes of the mountain opposite met mine.

Hollowed eyes in a recumbent head. The left one stared, on the brink of a tear, seeming to be suffering from injury, from attack. The right slept, in the mist, beneath a craggy heart itself sheltered by a nursery-rhyme nightcap of snow.

The mountain slumbered, mirroring my feelings; open-eyed pain and a wish to sleep, make the pain go away. For that pain was someone else’s, out of my control, and I knew not what to do.

The eagles appealed, soaring above the world, marking out creatures below, choosing their prey. Such imperial birds dancing on air, playing with the wind, piercing the clouds, their plumage an artist’s best canvas, a palette of brown to gold to white, they ruled the ether.

The clouds shape-shifted with startling visual acrobatics, challenging my imagination to make the best of them whilst unable to sustain substance, crying for credibility. Their presence scarcely supported my dreams.


Set Aside

Source

Abandoned & Forgotten

Once more I surveyed the miniature world below. Toy train tracks trundled my gaze through the lush, mottled-green valley. In one sandy siding lay diverse railway antiques; ruined, rust-red passenger compartments, faded blue freight trucks, grey cattle trucks long devoid of life, engines never again to splutter and belch. Eternal slumber was their destiny. They were abandoned, forgotten, useless, their wheels dying to roll but clamped with ruin.


Source

Falling Apart

Closer to my vantage point, a sombre blot damaged a wild meadow. My bird’s eye distinguished a silo attached to a metal roof sweeping down to the grass. Alone, unadorned, thrown together with no style. It had kudos once but now slept in the midday sun, nothing around to bother it, to kick it awake, get it working. It would slide into green oblivion, devoured by bindweed and bramble.


Source

Legacy of Life

Between that and the railway, a church pointed its finger towards me. Dots amid its turf surroundings introduced the graveyard. ‘Neath the vertical stones, bodies slumbered never more to wake but…..

those lives left breath in others, didn’t they?

My thoughts turned to those I’d known, now resting in such places. They were not deceased. They did not cease to exist, did not cease to be useful. My heart and mind were full of their memories, their wisdom, their love, their kindness. But for them, I would not exist.

The stones made us remember. We should never forget.


Inspiration

The old silo narrated a history of lives, of events, of emotions and reactions. I could already see workers moving nearby, approaching the silo with spades, with hammer and nails, with determining strides full of intention.

Redundant machinery held its noble aura of heritage, of evolution, revolution, man’s ingenuity. They had been superseded, yes, but now intrigued and made the young ask questions.

I stood still on the ledge. The mists wiped clear the mountain face, revealing a faint smile beneath the nose. There was life, its snow-cap had begun to thaw, a chink of sparkle pierced the eyelid. The mountain was waking, changing its clothes, shrugging off turbulence.


Hope

I too awoke. No longer tempted by the ledge, no longer contemplating the eagles’ suggestion, nor heeding the clouds which held no substance, I did accept the offer to rejoin life below.

The pain remained. I still had no control, no control over what happened in the world, of course not. I did, though, have control over my own reactions, my ability to fight, my choice of whether to give in or to make a difference.


Beautiful Blue Waters
Beautiful Blue Waters | Source

Give & Love

I paid my respects to the mountain, the eagles and the clouds, and left. I made my way down to reality. I could help, I could support, I could spur determination to hold on to precious life.

I would give of my best, whatever I was asked, concentrating on my friends, my loved ones, my family, my world. Grief, pain, worry, they have their place but life itself has to overcome them all.

A state of mind can move mountains, change the world, influence others. Some of us do, some of us don’t. I want to be one of those who do, those who carry others above the crowd to beat the odds, to pull through, to live, to love.

Slumber Mountain shook me up and spat me out. Nature survives the assault of the body and the senses; so can we.


Copyright AFC/annart August 2016


The Challenge

http://hubpages.com/literature/A-Writing-Challenge-Are-You-Up-For-It

GROUNDRULES

  1. The title of the short story must have the word “mountain” in it, and the subject matter of the short story must be, in some way, related to the mountain in the photo. (see hub for photos)
  2. There are three other photos included in this short article. Your story must, in some way, include and mention those three photos.
  3. Short story….flash fiction….I don’t care. There is no word limit in this challenge, but you are limited to only one Hub article….no two and three part stories, please. Say what you can in one episode and then you are done.
  4. Post your entry on HubPages by September 10th.

(also let Bill know when you publish)

Why Accept a Challenge?

A challenge pushes the boundaries of one’s writing. It’s prompted by someone else, using their personal visual or verbal inspiration and is by definition out of our control.

Not only does it take us out of our comfort zone but it also makes our imagination take a leap, following one of a myriad of possible paths (how far can your brain take you?).

I love visual prompts most of all. I looked at the photos, trying to keep an objective, open mind, to see what they offered. I deliberately kept the prompts in order, to give myself some initial structure. Several avenues opened up to me and the story you have just read is the end product of my choices.

There have been some great responses so far, so why not have a go yourself (if you haven't already done so)?


Thank you

My thanks to Bill Holland for setting this challenge. It came at a time of sorrow for a friend and I felt powerless to help. This thought process brought me out of my self pity and made me concentrate on willing strength on someone else.

That someone is a lovely lady who is strong and determined and whom I admire greatly; she is a kind person and a good friend. Whatever happens I know she will face it with grace, fortitude and courage.



Does Nature help you Cope?

What helps you cope with bad news?

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    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 5 months ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, Patricia! So good to see you today. I've neglected you I'm afraid as time is at such a premium at the moment. I must get over to your hubs.

      I really appreciate your comment on this.

      The angels should be winging their way to you too.

      Ann

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 months ago from sunny Florida

      "I would give of my best, whatever I was asked, concentrating on my friends, my loved ones, my family, my world. Grief, pain, worry, they have their place but life itself has to overcome them all." Pretty much sums it up doesn't it.....we have a choice though...give up and give in or 'overcome.' Well done...shared

      Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 6 months ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, Glenis. Yes I did know about the novel writing month; I was going to have a go last year but didn't get round to doing it properly and now this year it's the house that's taking over so.... maybe next year?!

      Good luck with your entry and let us know how you get on.

      Ann

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      Glenis Rix 6 months ago from UK

      Beautifully written, Ann. The imagery is wonderful and I formed a clear picture of the view in my minds eye. I wonder if you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? Here's a link - http://nanowrimo.org

      I've already registered so just need to find the time and self-discipline to do it!

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 6 months ago from SW England

      Thanks Lawrence! Glad you liked this and thanks for reading.

      I notice you've written a response which I'll read when I get back home, within the week.

      Ann

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      For me, it would be the Mountains, they're always there, silent sentinels ever watchful, never flinching and never changing no matter what the weather hurls at them!

      Great hub

      Lawrence

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Well, Frank, thank you kindly for your generous comment! So glad you like this. You are one of the great story-tellers here and that makes your comment all the more appreciated.

      Ann

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton

      A church pointed towards me.. you know the entire short story gelled and made for one creative response to Billybuc's challenge.. awesome annart.. just amazing

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Venkatachari M: Thank you kindly for your lovely comment.

      Ann

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Beautiful response, Ann. You have done it unique. Very interesting and insightful hub.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, Dora, for your kind comments. Glad you liked this. I've read quite a few already but not yet all of them and there is a great variety of ideas; amazing how photos can kick-start the imagination and how unique each of us is. It's exciting taking part in these challenges.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thank you, Shauna! Yes, it was indeed timely.

      I appreciate your kind words and thank you for reading and commenting.

      Ann

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 7 months ago from The Caribbean

      Ann, your response is entirely different from the others and yields a different effect. I like it and will remember for a long time that "A state of mind can move mountains, change the world, influence others." Good read!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 7 months ago from Central Florida

      Ann, this is a wonderful story of the power of inner strength and forgiveness of self. We all become overwhelmed in times of strife and sorrow. The key is to accept it, let it run its course, and move on.

      It seems Bill's challenge was timely in more ways than one.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      shanmarie: Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I'm glad you liked this.

      Ann

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 7 months ago from Texas

      I particularly like the part about those who have passed giving breath to those before them. Very inspirational approach to this challenge!

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Gypsy Rose Lee: Thank you very much. So glad you enjoyed reading this.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      marcoujor: Thank you for your wonderful comment. Yes, it's true it was cathartic for me. I find that writing from the heart often produces work I'm the most pleased with. I'm glad you enjoyed this and I appreciate your visit.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      manatita: Thank you indeed! Your comments are generous and I'm delighted you liked this.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Emese: Thank you for your kind comment and many thanks for your visit.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, Chris. Your words are just the encouragement I need at the moment when the words are a little more difficult to find. Praise from you is to be valued. You're right, of course, that looking back at one's work and finding pleasing phraseology or ideas is a boost to one's soul but I needed to be told. I'm smiling at that because it sounds a bit pretentious. What I'm trying to say is thank you for your support and most of all your encouragement.

      Ann :)

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Audrey (vocalcoach): Thank you for your generous comment. I'm so pleased you liked this and thanks for sharing.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Eric, I love 'a flurry of thoughts'! What a great phrase and thank you for your generous comment. Glad this woke you up!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Mr Archer: Thank you so much; what a wonderful thing to say! I'm flattered and humbled that you should think so but I'm delighted as I like to draw and paint too (though I know I'm not strong in those media). Creating an image in someone else's head is a hard thing to do so I'm glad I've succeeded and I'm so pleased you enjoyed this.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Hi John! Thanks for the great comment. I'm glad you could see the face in the mountain - I'm always seeing shapes and faces in objects which I suppose is a bit weird but there we go! Glad you liked it.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thanks, Shyron; I enjoyed the journey. It's great fun, isn't it? A challenge bucks us up and keeps us on our toes and I needed just that! I'm grateful for your support and I appreciate your friendship.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thank you, Flourish. I'm glad you liked the message; it was what I wanted to convey. Thanks for your great comment and for reading. I love these challenges!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      And thanks for the second comment as well, Theresa! Blessings.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Audrey, thank you for your kind words. Great to see you here; you are much appreciated.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thanks, Theresa. I'm glad you liked this one. It's sort of got me back in my stride a little. I appreciate your kind words especially the 'poetry' bit! It's surprised me that a few have thought the same.

      Hoping all's well with you and yours. Have a fabulous weekend, dear friend.

      Ann

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 7 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      This was a great story. Really enjoyed reading this was much imagery.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 7 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      A creative and perceptive interpretation of Bill's challenge - outstanding entry - a bonus that this writing was cathartic for you.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 7 months ago from london

      Excellently written Ann. Fine writing at its best! Good on you!

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 7 months ago from The Desert

      That was beautiful, Ann.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 7 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ann, look at what you've done. Really, step back and take a look. Where do these words and phrases come from? Like this,

      "The mists wiped clear the mountain face, revealing a faint smile beneath the nose. There was life, its snow-cap had begun to thaw, a chink of sparkle pierced the eyelid. The mountain was waking, changing its clothes, shrugging off turbulence."

      A bit of literary introspection is good for the soul. It has been good for mine. Marvelous job, Ann.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      What artistry you've created here Ann! Your style is poetic and inspirational. This is one hub I will gladly share. Thank you so much.

      Audrey

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bravo, a flurry of thoughts made complete. I am brought awake by such powerful words. Thank you.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 7 months ago from Missouri

      Ann, you are an artist. You may paint with words rather than brush but nonetheless, you are a true artist. Beautiful.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 7 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Ann, this was very unique and wonderfully written. I could see the face in the mountain after reading your description. Great job.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 7 months ago from Texas

      Ann, this is truly inspirational. I am so glad you joined the rest of us on the journey up the mountain.

      Blessings and hugs dear friend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 7 months ago from southern USA

      Ohhh, Ann, this is beyond beautiful. It is interesting how you gave the mountain a face, and now I see it too in the photo.

      I love the metaphor of moving mountains. When we are on that mountain top, we see the world afresh and anew!

      Glorious contribution to the challenge.

      Thank you for this inspiration,

      Theresa

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      What a beautiful job you have done here. I liked the inspiration and power that shines through. A terrific message of hope, resilience, strength, plodding through even though it can be so hard.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 7 months ago from California

      Well this was beautifully written Ann! Happy Sunday!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 7 months ago from southern USA

      Ohhh, Ann, you've beautifully penned this truly inspiring story. I love the metaphor of moving a mountain. Your words are poetry to the ears. I'm thrilled you've participated in the challenge.

      Bill certainly has no easy task in choosing a winner.

      Bravo!

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, Mike. Praise from you means a lot to me. I haven't got round to reading yours yet, sorry, but I will of course.

      Ann

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ann - What a tapestry of wonder you have made here. Language at its finest. What a great contribution.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Well thank you so much Ruby! I never saw it as 'poetic style' but you and Paula seem to think so and I'm delighted. I appreciate your support and thanks for reading. This challenge was fun, wasn't it?

      Ann

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Ann, I see you in a completely different light. Your poetic style is beautiful, despair came to the forefront, then hope and a reason for living soared. I loved reading your story!

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Wow, Paula! Thank you for such a lovely comment. I'm so pleased that you found it inspirational and the word 'poetic' makes me delighted.

      Your hubs are always so entertaining and fun, with a mixture of serious wisdom. I'm a great fan!

      Peace to you.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, bill. I like the role of catalyst! As you say, I couldn't have ignored this challenge, could I? There's been a great response so far and I haven't read them all yet.

      Have a scrumptious Sunday yourself, bill.

      Ann

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 7 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Ann.....Your creation is amazing. So poetic and deep. Your words are powerfully inspirational. How apparent is your blessing of artistry from your heart to mind to soul.

      Thank you for such beauty. Peace, Paula

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm filing this away to be read at deadline time. I would have been disappointed if you didn't enter, since you were the damned catalyst. LOL Now look what you've done!

      Have a marvelous Sunday and thank you, my friend.

      bill

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